There are a number of excellent resorts within six hours of the Flathead Valley

Story by Clare Menzel

Tt’s not all hockey in Canada. Our neighbors to the north, in interior British Columbia, have some of the Rocky Mountains’ snowiest, biggest ski resorts right in their backyards. Make a road trip out of it sometime, eh?

Fernie Alpine Resort is located about two hours due north of Kalispell, practically a stone’s throw from the Flathead Valley. Offering more wide-open alpine terrain than Flathead Valley ski areas, Fernie is famous for its five bowls.

High on the Continental Divide, straddling the borderline between Alberta and British Columbia, you’ll find Banff’s Big 3. If you’re seeking extreme terrain, visit Banff Sunshine when Delirium Dive is open. This bucket-list zone requires an avalanche beacon and a buddy to ski. Lake Louise, voted the #1 Ski Resort in Canada at the 2017 World Ski Awards, is the region’s crown jewel. Mt. Norquay, the locals’ hill, is closest to downtown Banff, a bustling village within a Canadian national park. These resorts are about a six-hour drive from Kalispell.

West of Banff, you’ll find Golden, which is home to Kicking Horse Resort, a ski area renowned for its challenging and rowdy expert terrain. Drive over Rogers Pass, and you’re in Revelstoke. The resort here opened just over a decade ago and has wasted little time in making a big name for itself as a quiet, snowy wonderland.

In the Kootenays, you’ll find ski areas like Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort and Rossland’s Red Mountain Resort. Both will stun you with their expansive terrain, abundant snowfall, friendly locals, and quiet crowds.

The best part of a road trip like this? Coming back home, to a place like the Flathead Valley, a world-class ski destination in its own right.

MAIN PHOTO: Skiers at Fernie Alpine Resort